MAKING A MARK: Fred Cuming 1930-2022

Janice K. Johnson



I was so sorry to see in the NEAC Newsletter that
Fred Cuming died
in June.
 

I very much recommend that anybody who admired his work takes a look
at the Obituary about him on the gets on the NEAC –
Remembering Fred Cuming (plus others below).

His landscape paintings were always a joy to behold and I very much regret I’m not going
to see them anymore – except online.

Fred Cuming‘s paintings – which I’m very happy to stare at for absolutely ages. You
can see more of his work on his
website – Fred Cuming RA. Those who like the coastline and skies around Britain will appreciate
his work.

Central to his practice was to be the sketchbook, the making of what he called “notes” en plein air. Cuming would, as he said, “sketch and sketch … [keeping] sketchbooks everywhere, in my studio, in my bag, in the car”. At his peak, he would get through a hundred a year. Fred Cuming – Obituary | The Guardian

Below are some highlights of his life, formal obituaries elsewhere, some examples of his work and a
reference to a previous blog post in which I highlighted a wonderful video
about his work 

The video is called ‘Fred Cuming RA: Portrait of an Artist’ and was made in 2015 when he was 85. It was shot in and around his home and studio between Rye and Hastings in East Sussex.

  • 11 June 2022 – died, age 92 years old.

These are the published obituaries in the press

On 2 June 1953, the artist Fred Cuming, who has died aged 92, stood on the roof of the Old Admiralty Building in London sketching the coronation procession as it passed down Whitehall. “I got a very nice write-up for that painting,” he mused in an interview nearly 70 years later. He ascribed the success to two things: first, he had turned down the offer from newsmen also standing on the roof of photographs to work from – “They always promised they’d give you snaps, but they never did” – relying instead on his sketchbook. Second was the weather. As Cuming recalled of that long ago June day, it had been “pissing down with rain”.

Silkscreen prints by Fred Cuming RA NEAC

I absolutely LOVED
Fred Cuming‘s
silkscreen prints. In fact I’d say it’s worth going to the exhibition to
see these alone. I’d love to see him produce one. Mind you I don’t think
I’ve ever seen anything produced by Fred Cuming which I’ve not liked.
Review: New England Art Club Annual Exhibition 2014

I always wanted to ask him about what happened during the Judging of the
Sunday Times Watercolour Competition in 2017 – which was the year I refused to
display the work which won first prize or announce the prizewinners. 

What the panel of Judges were thinking I really don’t know – however to
my mind it maybe explains the delay in the announcement of the selected
artists. Incidentally one artist pointed out that
Fred Cuming RA (who’s an oil
painter and
whose work I
love) disappeared from the list of Judges between the
General Info for Artists
and
the announcement of the prizewinners
at the end of August. I wonder why….

10 Best Paintings in the Sunday Times Watercolour Exhibition

I always liked to think of him as being somebody who shared my perspective on
what happened that year!

His work sold extremely well – as one might expect for somebody who painted so
well. Here’s a comment from my review of pricing in the RA Summer Exhibition
2018
copyright Making A Mark Publications

Over £10,000

  • Most paintings over by £10,000 are by members of the
    RA. 
  • by and large expensive artwork (£10,000+) by RAs generally does not sell 
  • UNLESS it’s figurative and in a realistic or impressionist style
    by Diana Armfield, Fred Cuming, Ken Howard or Bill Jacklin

        RA Summer Exhibition – a curious exercise in pricing and sales



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